For most of us, the word "coral reef" conjures visions of brilliantly multicolored undersea landscapes inhabited by strange life forms and exotic fish. Sadly, our mental images, whether from snorkeling years ago, a nature documentary, or the local aquarium shop, are wildly out-of-date. The undersea reality is "coral bleaching," a sign of mass coral death that is occurring on a scale so vast and a pace so rapid that it defies comprehension. In just thirty years, half of all coral reefs have died, turning once teeming fish nurseries into underwater graveyards.
Director Jeff Orlowski, documents this alarming toll of climate change on coral reefs with spectacular footage taken with time-lapse camera rigs set deep underwater off the coasts of Caribbean islands, Hawaii and Australia. To record the deadly transformation of the Great Barrier Reef, they dive deep with special cameras to meticulously photograph the day-to-day changes on the ocean floor. Once-thriving marine metropolises, teeming with sting rays, turtles, little yellow fish and big-eyed predators, gradually wither away into a wasteland of muck.
Chasing Coral builds on the technical foundation of Mr. Orlowski's previous film, Chasing Ice, in which he used long-scale time-lapse photography to document another feature of climate change -- the rapid melting of the world's glaciers. While the film gives us the background science which underpins the coral bleaching, its greatest strength is in the story it tells with images alone. What is happening to the coral is almost instantaneous from the standpoint of biological history. But for us humans, it is a slow process, one difficult to see and "feel." Orlowski's brilliant photography brings this undersea drama to life for us.
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Producer: Jeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes
Screenwriter: Davis Coombe, Vickie Curtis, Jeff Orlowski
Director of Photography: Jeff Orlowski, Andrew Ackerman
Editor: Davis Coombe
Composer: Dan Romer, Saul Simon MacWilliams
Production Company: Netflix
Sound Designer: Dustin Cawood
Jeff Orlowski is the founder of Exposure Labs. He served as director, producer, and cinematographer on Chasing Ice, which screened for Congress, the White House, and the United Nations; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song; and won a 2014 News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Programming. Orlowski graduated from Stanford University with a BA in anthropology and was the inaugural Sundance Institute Discovery Impact Fellow for environmental filmmaking
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